November 7th, 2007

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lesser-known fedora contributors, part 2

Part the second of my lesser-known Fedora contributors series focuses on a guy who has been active in the free software world for a while now, but has really burst on the Fedora scene recently. Today we focus on Jonathan Roberts.

Most of Jon's contributions come as a writer -- he is particularly active in the Fedora News and the Fedora Documentation communities. In the Fedora 8 cycle, he has done a few things that have been tremendously helpful to me directly.

The first is his work on the Fedora 8 Release Summary. The release summary is basically the Fedora community's "press release", written by a group of volunteers and meant to be a reasonably brief overview of "what is cool in the new distribution". For the last few releases, Rahul Sundaram and I have done a lot of the work on the Release Summary. This time, Jonathan stepped in (without needing to be asked) and took up the load with Rahul, and the two of them really were the main driving force behind that page. And a good thing too, because I've started the "interviews about Fedora 8 with various press folks" portion of the release, and the Release Summary has been read by all of them, and it really helps the flow of the conversations that we have -- they already have the basic understanding of the release, and we can talk about things at a deeper level than usual.

The other big contribution that Jonathan has made during this release cycle is his series of interviews leading up to the Fedora 8 release. He has covered bluetooth, the online desktop, the artwork community, the Fedora Electronics Lab spin, and other topics. I think these are great -- they help to demonstrate that the Fedora Project is a very diverse community of developers, volunteers, and creative types.

Jonathan Roberts, (no longer a) lesser-known Fedora contributor!
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lesser-known fedora contributors, part 3

Herein lies the third installment of my lesser-known Fedora contributors series. But the focus on this installment is someone who you should know, because in the 6 or 7 months since his Fedora account was created, Ricky Zhou has done a ton of great work for Fedora, especially in the infrastructure and websites realm.

I asked two of the better-known Fedora contributors, Mike McGrath and Toshio Kuratomi to "tell me some of the cool stuff Ricky has done".

Here are a few highlights:

* Ricky has had a lot to do with the entire look-and feel of the non-wiki section of fedoraproject.org. Right now, I hear, he is debugging the way fedoraproject.org renders when viewed with Internet Explorer 6, which actually tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his desire to see a Job Done Well.

* The little drop down menu on fedoraproject.org that lets you switch the language that the page is displayed in? That's Ricky (and Ignacio).

* Have you seen the layout changes in the past few months that have happened on the torrent site? What about the look and feel of the package database? Again, lots of that is Ricky's work.

* According to Mike, Ricky *is* the webmaster{at}fedoraproject.org alias, though for the sake Redundancy in Engineering we might want to get him some help! :)

* Ricky has helped Seth with repository layout templates, and he is also working on the Fedora Account System version 2, and the soon-to-be-live spins.fedoraproject.org, which will be (from the early work that I've seen) a very slick page that makes it easy for people to find and use custom spins of Fedora. I predict that spins.fedoraproject.org will be very important in our future community building efforts, because it will also give people an incentive to create their own spins, so that they can be visible on that site.

Ricky Zhou, (no longer a) lesser-known Fedora contributor!
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lesser-known fedora contributors, part 4

Allison McGrath has made a tremendous contribution to the Fedora Project by being kind-hearted and understanding to her husband of less than one week when the Fedora 8 release fell directly in between their wedding and their honeymoon.

She also makes sure that Mike wears matching socks.

Allison McGrath, (no longer a) lesser-known Fedora contributor!
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lesser-known fedora contributors, part 5

The fifth installment of this series focuses on Chitlesh Goorah, a member of our European Fedora community who I have had the pleasure of spending a few days with. Chitlesh is a post-graduate student in France studying Very Complicated Electronics.

Chitlesh has been contributing to Fedora for at least 3 years now, probably even more than that. He was here before I was, that's for sure. Early on I knew him as one of the guys who worked on Kadischi, which is the very first attempt at a Fedora Live CD codebase. And it was successful -- people used it, and Live CDs were produced. In many ways, I think that Kadischi served as the inspiration point for the current generation of Fedora LiveCDs, and also was one of the areas that the Fedora Unity project became involved in. So it laid the groundwork for a lot of good stuff.

In the Fedora 8 timeframe, Chitlesh is the man behind the Fedora Electronics Lab, one of the new custom spins that is being released with Fedora 8. Not only did he have the initial vision for the Fedora Electronics Lab, but he also maintains many of the packages that differentiate that spin from the more generic version of Fedora.

Finally, I must add that Chitlesh is a big part of the European Fedora Ambassadors community. He is a smart engineer and he also has natrual leadership qualities. I heard Chitlesh deliver a talk about the Fedora Project at FOSDEM this past year, and it was very good.

Chitlesh Goorah, (no longer a) lesser-know Fedora contributor!
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lesser-known fedora contributors, part 6

While I'm on the topic of Fedora contributors who live in Europe, I'd like to present to you Gerold Kassube, the sixth installment of the lesser-known Fedora contributors series.

Gerold is an example of Organization and Determination. I've worked with him at various times in the past 2 years or so on building the Fedora community in Europe, and if it were not for his desire to get events organized and planned, I do not think we would have as strong a group there as we do.

Gerold has been the organizer for Fedora's presence at LinuxTag in 2006, 2007, and 2008. It is probably the biggest Linux show in Europe. Even more important, from a community point of view, Gerold has organized a series of Fedora Ambassador Days, which have gathered together 10-15 folks from all over Europe, and planned out their Fedora Ambassador strategy for the coming year.

I remember vividly the first Fedora Ambassador Day. Aside from a small snafu regarding the payment of the bill (my fault), the results of it have been fantastic. They presented me with a plan for Fedora's presence in Europe during 2007, and made it very easy for me to allocate budget, plan for them to get resources, and in the end we were even able to coordinate the Fedora 7 release to coincide with LinuxTag 2007.

If you are looking for a model Fedora Ambassador, Gerold is a good example to emulate.

Gerold Kassube, (no longer a) lesser-known Fedora contributor!
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my thoughts on the eve of fedora 8

It has come to be expected that on the eve of a Fedora release, I send something to fedora-announce-list that is my personal thoughts on the release, and on the state of the Fedora Project overall.

The past few releases, I remember being excited, but more stressed out than anything else in the last day or two leading up to the release. For some reason that's not the case this time. I'm still stressed out, don't get me wrong, but excitement and anticipation is the prevailing emotion.

I'm really, really proud of the Fedora community. I can't express enough my appreciation and gratitude for all their work.

Edit: I know that I write a lot. I am sorry for being so long-winded!